Netflix’s The Cook of Castamar Season 1 Review: A Slow-Burn Period Piece

The Cook of Castamar Season 1, released on Netflix, is a slow-burn Spanish period drama adapted from a novel of the same name written by Fernando J. Muñez. The show was originally titled La cocinera de Castamar and is created by Tatiana Rodríguez. Set in early 18th-century Madrid, The Cook of Castamar Season 1 is a love story revolving around Clara Belmonte, played by Michelle Jenner, a cook with agoraphobia and the widowed Diego de Castamar, the Duke of Castamar.

After watching it, we cannot not appreciate the elaborate costumes and set designs that were created for The Cook of Castamar Season 1. A period drama always focuses on the background as well as the foreground to set the time. From the hairstyles to the dresses, from the manors full of big walls, paintings, chandeliers to the tiny quarters of the servants. The Cook of Castamar Season 1 has focused on every detail.

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Forbidden Love

The story of The Cook of Castamar Season 1 is a classic love tale between two people who cannot be together for many reasons. For them, it is the social stigma of a rich and royal person being in love with a cook. Being a widowed man, Diego sees much resemblance to his dead wife in Clara. Such as the connection with lilies. Clara uses lilies to cook food while Diego’s wife used to put lilies in her room.

The Cook of Castamar Season 1 fiesta scene

Clara is also an extremely talented cook who surprises everyone with her cooking skills. She is also shown as a kind-hearted woman who helps everyone even the King. While Diego, ridden from the grief of his dead wife, becomes distant from his bourgeois lifestyle and the duties of being a Duke. From the starting, his character development gives us a clue of a romance starting between the two characters.

The Cook of Castamar Season 1 was initially released in Spain in February 2021. The show garnered a huge viewership due to its cast members and the storyline. Since then, Netflix decided to stream the show worldwide. The show focuses on the reign of Philip V, the king of Spain and disparities between the two classes, but at the same time shows a little warmth and humanity from the rich class.

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Worth the Watch?

Being a melodramatic show, The Cook of Castamar Season 1 obviously has many other side stories going on. There is a political scheme brewing amongst a few royal members, murder and a lot of sex but little nudity. We see homosexual romances as well which is something only recent period dramas has started to represent. Another interesting part of The Cook of Castamar Season 1 was the portrayal of a free Black man named Gabriel who is adopted by Diego’s family but not by others surrounding them.

The Cook of Castamar Season 1 Clara and Diego

At the same time, we are shown the past of a few characters including Clara. The show reveals many secrets as we go forward, making it better and better. However, The Cook of Castamar Season 1 introduces so many characters that it keeps hard to keep a track of who is who. With each new character, we hope to see a little backstory, but the show establishes only a few.

Even though The Cook of Castamar Season 1 is an interesting period drama and one of the few Spanish drama’s we have seen, it does become slow-paced at one point. The subplots and the complex characters make it hard to keep up with The Cook of Castamar Season 1 and confuse what the main plot is until you realize that the show is mostly about sex. If you absolutely love watching historical shows with manors, castles, grand hairdos and costumes, then you should definitely watch The Cook of Castamar Season 1.

You can watch The Cook of Castamar Season 1 on Netflix.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Netflix's The Cook of Castamar Season 1 is a slow-burn period drama about forbidden love between a cook and a Duke.
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Ilina Singh
Escaping into films is more than just a hobby for me.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What a ridiculous thing to say: “it’s mostly about sex.”

    Just because you didn’t understand what was happening doesn’t mean it was only about sex.

  2. Why do the writers/reviewers keep saying that this series is mostly about sex? Nothing could be further from the truth. The storylines highlight the character’s struggle to keep Power (ill-gotten) and to keep up appearances…archetypes, themes, plot line are well developed…i.e spys/deception, class/cast systems, mental illness and unconditional love, grief/treachery Racism and prejudice, hidden talents/Ambition, loyalty, guilt, social injustice, forbidden as well as unrequited love, queer love and assassination plots AND the best of them all the power of love and forgiveness which all overshadow the sex.

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